Is there a cure for baldness?

The first signs of a receding hairline can be very stressful and causes thousands of men and women to start looking for a cure to hair loss. There are lots of reports of breakthroughs in hair treatment but is there a cure? The good news is that while there is no magic bullet yet, there are a number of options available.

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Hair first starts to disappear from the crown and temples. This can be quite alarming when it starts, especially if it's in your late teens. For men baldness is often inherited and is caused by an excess of a chemical called dihydrotesterone or DHT. Hair follicles become thinner and thinner until they disappear completely. Stress, thyroid problems and anaemia can also cause baldness but these are more likely to be temporary conditions that should improve with treatment.

For women a condition known as telogen can cause hair loss. It is usually a reaction to stress or sometimes medication. Rather than a bald spot, the hair tends to get thinner all over the scalp but the good news that the hair often recovers in around six months. There is also a condition known as
Androgenetic alopecia. This is usually inherited from the mother or father and is related to hormone levels in the body.

There are a number of treatments currently available and these are some of the most popular:

Minoxidil or Regaine is an over the counter solution which is applied directly to the scalp. It is unclear exactly how the treatment works and was first used to treat heart problems. It may be that the blood supply is increased to the hair follicles.

Around two thirds of men using this product notice some improvement in hair growth. Results vary between moderate re-growth to thicker results and it can take up to a year to see the full benefit. The downside is that the treatment will be needed to be used permanently to stop the balding process starting again. The cost is around £ 59.95 for a three month supply but consult with your doctor first.

Finasteride is an oral treatment for baldness, which is also known by the brand name of Propecia. It is only available privately and you need to speak to your doctor if you are thinking of trying it. It works by preventing the action of a male hormone that leads to the production of DHT. It's effective in eighty per cent of men but may take up to six months before results are seen. It can be expensive at £35.00 per month and you will need to take the medication continually to prevent the baldness returning. If you stop taking the drug you are likely to lose any hair you have gained within 9 to 12 months.

Revivogen is a scalp therapy treatment using natural ingredients that promotes healthy hair growth and combats the causes of hair loss. The treatment can take around four to six weeks to show results. The cost of the treatment is £65.00 for three months.

Hair transplantation has been around for years and is a treatment where small areas of skin containing a few follicles of hair are taken from another part of the body (such as the back of the head, if this is still well covered) and implanted into the balding areas.

Caffeine: It may be a little surprising but there has been some research that shows caffeine may act as a stimulator of human hair growth. It's thought that it works by blocking follicle damaging chemicals in the body. Before you reach for the cafetiere though it's worth noting that doctors estimate you would need to drink 60 cups or more to have an effect. There are some direct caffeine based treatments available that can help with hair restoration.

Wigs may seem a little dated but they have improved greatly over the years. Sometimes known as units these can be wigs, toupees or hairpieces made from a number of materials including human hair, wool or synthetic material.